Now and again, I get knocked down. But invariably I get up again. Just this morning I got knocked down when a giant reptile, in an effort to evade its would-be captors, turned to swat its itty-bitty reptile arms and its tail swished and I got knocked down. “Were that I a zookeeper or a paleontologist on an island off the coast of Costa Rica” I thought as I got up again, “then this would make sense.” I’m neither a zookeeper nor a paleontologist. Nevertheless, I got up again.
I’ve gotten knocked down scores of time. I always get up again. Recently, I got knocked down by a Zamboni driven by a narcoleptic Zamboni driver; I got knocked down by the anthropomorphic Chuck E. Cheese bear; I got knocked down by that thing of when movers carry a large painting into the Met and they don’t look to see if anyone is roller blading on the sidewalk; I got knocked down by a burrito-shaped t-shirt launched from Celtics the t-shirt cannon; I got knocked down by a papier maché Oscar statue that fell as I trotted onstage to pick up my technical achievement Oscar from Halle Berry.
You know what happens every time I get knocked down? I get up again.
It’s rare for me to experience a day that I do not get knocked down. But I, without exception, get up again. Last night, that thing of when you order hotel room service and the waiter wheels in the cart and lifts up the silver dome that covers your food and there’s two rats eating your chicken cordon bleu and everyone scurries out of the room inevitably knocking down lamps and someone and that someone happened to be me. Was I crestfallen? No. I just got up again.
I get knocked down. A lot. I always always get up again. And when I get up again, I typically make it my practice to peruse my surroundings to identify who or what it was who knocked me down. Sometimes I am able to identify and confront them. “Why did you just knock me down?” I ask. Sometimes they have a cogent reply, “I was in a hurry” or “I didn’t see you because we are in a forest and you are wearing woodland camouflage overalls and have your face painted like an Army Ranger.” Sometimes they neither stop nor offer a cogent reply why they knocked me down. Regardless of the circumstances, I get up again.
There are times I am unable to identify who knocked me down. Usually because they are just one member of a stampede or piloting some sort of hovercraft or Jeff Gillooly. Sometimes what knocks me down is an inanimate object like or a ski lift chair or a wayward beach umbrella or the grape someone flung onto the grocery store floor. Confronting an object would be superfluous. So I just silently get up again.
Knocking someone down is a tad aggressive. It’s also in many instances likely a felony. Like this one time I got knocked down by a babushka clad Eastern European woman. She was buying a bushel of beets and in an effort to get the best beets, she knocked me down. Before I could get up again, she used me as a step stool to reach the beets. She was wearing those wood-soled boots all the Eastern European women are wearing now. That was definitely a felonious knocking down. But I got up again. I did not get the best beets. But I got up again.
Other times I get knocked down under more innocuous circumstances. Like this one time, I was at a Richard Marx concert and just after his first encore song which was “Hold on To the Nights,” some people rushed the stage and in doing so, I got knocked down. When I got up again, and saw that they meant no ill will, they just wanted to be closer to the stage as Richard Marx began his second encore song, “Right Here Waiting.” I was all, “ok. That’s understandable.” Then I got up again.
I just got knocked down in between writing this paragraph and the paragraph above it, the one about getting knocked down and getting up again at the Richard Marx concert. I’m on a frigate, just underneath the mizzenmast and a giant wave just crashed on deck and knocked me down. I am soaking wet, but getting up again.
At my own wedding, I was carrying a plate of chicken taquitos and king crab legs from the buffet to my table, and I got knocked down by revelers doing the electric slide. I got up again. And headed back to the buffet.
This one time, I got knocked me down by someone driving a 1987 Honda Accord. When I got up again, I saw that Warren Buffet was driving it. I was all, “I knew that Warren Buffett lived frugally but a 1987 Honda Accord is some next-level frugality.” He apologized and bought me breakfast. That’s when I realized that those who get knocked down and then get up again are the ones who reap the rewards. Which is why I get up again whenever I get knocked down.
I know am not the only one who gets knocked down and then gets up again. Wrestlers for example. They get knocked down. But they get up again. And I recently saw that thing of when the man is late for the train and so he runs alongside the train and as he’s yelling for the conductor to open the doors he runs into a pole and gets knocked down. But he got up again.
Every time you get knocked down, you might bemoan gravity and the ancillary manifestations thereof, but you must get up again! I get knocked down. But I get up again.
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Gary M. Almeter is an attorney who lives in a quaint and cozy neighborhood in Baltimore, MD with his wife, three children and beagle. His short stories, essays and humor pieces have appeared in McSweeney’s, Writer’s Bone, the Good Men Project, 1966, and Splitsider. He is the recipient of the Maryland Writer’s Association’s 2015 Creative Nonfiction Award. His first book “The Emperor of Ice-Cream” will be published in March 2019.